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PF500 Compression Vs Gain

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Ox Boris, Apr 13, 2017.


  1. Ox Boris

    Ox Boris Banned

    Nov 23, 2015
    Australia
    I used to play with no compression and would control the booms with my fingers, I quite liked it. But more recently I've found that when playing live, we're a little bit louder and I needed some help.

    The amp has its built-in compressor and I experimented a bit and got a sound I liked with the knob at noon (lucky me). Trouble is, even with the Gain @ 2 O'clock (I used to have it at 10 O'clock), I don't get the dirty sound of the little Peak light flickering.

    So, when I play the rockers, which knob would be best to turn? Compression down/Gain up/Volume something/A mixture of all three? I don't mind turning the odd knob, but if it gets too strenuous, I'd rather save my time.

    I'll get a pedal of some sort if it's unavoidable, but it's a last resort for me.
    I already own a BOSSME-50B and a Tech21 Bass Boost Fuzz, if they'll help, but I haven't dared gig with them yet. You have to understand that I live in North Queensland where double-pluggers are considered an extravagance worn only by show-offs; and where turning up with all your strings is "a bit flash", let alone matching socks.

    Bass is a NT StingRay HH (all the knobs at noon and mostly played in posn 3, but back to 1 for the rockers).
    Cabs are PF112 & PF410.

    Lots of places this thread could go. I picked here seeing as I'm really after some amp settings recommendations.
     
  2. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    The compressor in that amp appears to be pre-gain, if you follow the schematics readily available online. It would appear that, if you want to push the pre gain, you'll have to turn the compressor off.
     
  3. Ox Boris

    Ox Boris Banned

    Nov 23, 2015
    Australia
    Completely?
     
  4. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    It would be the most logical option.....
     
  5. blubass

    blubass

    Aug 3, 2007
    Modesto Ca
    Current: Blackstar, DR strings, Nady. Previous endorsements with: GK, Rotosound, Ernie Ball, Cleartone, EMG, Dean, Dava Picks, Rebel Straps, Dickies
    No. I was just playing my PF500 right now and I decided to find out what you're talking about.

    With the compressor at noon, and really hot active electronics, I can overdrive the preamp with the gain between 8 and 10 (on the amp, not a clock) if the -15db pad is engaged. With the compressor at noon, and -15db pad disengaged, the amp is overdriven from 0-10 on the gain, but the overdrive pushes really hard up through 6-10 on the dial.

    Depending on your bass, you may have to experiment with the compressor vs gain, decreasing the compression and increasing gain until you get enough overdrive. The bass, mid, and treble knobs also increase preamp volume if your knobs are moved right of noon, but the +db amount is dependent on which knob, because they aren't all an even +/- amount, IE: -10/+10db at a given frequency.

    The volume knob won't do anything to increase overdrive or gain. It is only to increase total volume. ONLY if you play quietly (bedroom volume), can it give you the perception that it's increasing gain as it's increased.
     
    Ox Boris likes this.
  6. P-oddz

    P-oddz Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2009
    Milwaukee, WI
    I would probably just go the route of finding a pedal to do the dirt you want. Keep the settings you like on the PF500 and use a pedal for the drive you want to add. It'll save you from having to roll knobs back and forth on your amp during a set.
     
    Ox Boris, blubass and tfer like this.
  7. blubass

    blubass

    Aug 3, 2007
    Modesto Ca
    Current: Blackstar, DR strings, Nady. Previous endorsements with: GK, Rotosound, Ernie Ball, Cleartone, EMG, Dean, Dava Picks, Rebel Straps, Dickies
    Ampeg's decision to release the scrambler as an analog pedal does make this option available. To be honest, i'm a plug and play guy for live purposes. If I have to fiddle with knobs then I try to find a different solution or just go without because chances are i'll forget to turn a knob back. I did find it important and relevant to provide the OP with some pertinent information without an outside purchase though.

    The compressor on the PF500/800 while musical, does leave a lot to be desired in the way of compressors though. IF I were to use a pedalboard to compliment the PF head and retain it's tone, i'd add a compressor, the Ampeg preamp pedal, and the Scrambler pedal.
     
    Ox Boris likes this.
  8. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    If compression is there to level off your signal and make it more consistent, then it stands to reason that a different gain setting will be needed to make the peak light come on and audibly grind. I've not tried it with mine and I always leave it off when I use it, but it just sounds to me like you need more gain with the comp on.

    RE: Queensland and pedals, when I started in oldies, it was absolutely unheard of that a bassist would use pedals. I was the first, and I'd get a few of those guys goofing on me. Now some of them are putting together their own boards. Did they do it because of me? I'd like to think some did :D But I certainly never let peer pressure dictate what I do. I can take a little ribbing...it all stops when they hear me.
     
    P-oddz, Ox Boris and blubass like this.
  9. Ox Boris

    Ox Boris Banned

    Nov 23, 2015
    Australia
    Thanks for the help. I've been fiddling and think I've found solution involving a permanent adjustment of my usual Gain setting and a quick rolling back of the Compressor. It doesn't need to be completely off to get some dirt going.
     
    High Camp and JimmyM like this.

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